Here begins the biggest series for the Royals in, well, almost three decades.
This series at Detroit will mark the first of two three-game sets the Royals have left with the Tigers over their last 21 games.
In the first game of this three-game tilt, the Royals will face Tigers erstwhile ace Justin Verlander while sending Jeremy Guthrie to the mound in the hopes that he can quiet the bats of the Detroit nine.
While we Royals fans like to lament Jeremy Guthrie's contract, things could be worse. He could be making Verlander money. Verlander is making $20MM this year. He's been worth 0.5 rWAR and 2.6 fWAR. Next year, he'll be making $28MM, a figure that he'll make annually through 2019(!). Verlander's 7.03 K/9, 2.28 K/BB, 65.9 LOB%, 4.80 ERA, 3.90 FIP, 4.25 xFIP, and 4.24 SIERA are all his worst marks since his dismal 2008 campaign. If this is the new Verlander, the Tigers have a ridiculous amount of money committed to a huge question mark.
Guthrie's been worth 0.9 rWAR and 1.2 fWAR thus far. He's been Jeremy Guthrie.
Neither has been particularly good. They are backed by very different squads.
The Tigers offense has been the most valuable in the AL in terms of fWAR. The Royals offense is the 11th-most valuable (read: fifth-worst) in the AL. Defensively, however, the Royals are the most valuable unit in the league, whereas the Tigers are 12th-most or fourth-least valuable. In total, just 0.6 fWAR separates the slightly more valuable position players of Detroit from those of the Royals.
It's Billy Butler time.